Trinity in Digital Context

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Much has been said about the importance and insignificance of the Christian belief that God is Triune: Father, Son, and Spirit.  Its importance is usually proclaimed theologically, claiming that without an understanding of God as Triune, the entire Christian enterprise is undone. Its insignificance is usually proclaimed practically, claiming that the Trinity makes no day to day difference in the lives of most believers.

The digital age has taken an old human pastime to new levels. That pastime is our ability to withdrawn into our little worlds, into our own little realities, to put on digital clothing that obscures who we are, rather than reveals who we are. Technology, and especially the internet, have made it possible for just about anyone to lead a secret life, or in many cases, several secret lives.

The dangers and consequences of leading a double-life are, at least initially, removed for the individual masquerading digitally. Whether in the physical realm or the digital realm the individual flirting with self-deception is often totally unaware of their slow descent away from the light, away from their destiny as a creature made in God’s image, and into the darkness. This language applies just as much to seemingly innocent sorts of online engagement, incessant game playing for instance, as well as the more sordid opportunities to be found on the web.

Into our self-deception, whether digitally or otherwise, breaks in the Triune God. The Triune God is not a generic concept to be assimilated into our deception, into our digital world. He will not make nice and color our landscape in divine colors of our choosing. No, the Triune God is scandalously particular, and scandalously personal, confronting us with the person of Jesus.

In Jesus we find an image of our inheritance, an inheritance we cannot grasp but by grace. The Triune God is both theological and practical, for the Triune God is inherently relational and however much we might prefer our secret lives, digitally and otherwise, the relational invitation of the God of relationship shatters all our illusions that such secret lives are satisfying, much less everlasting.

About Father Kevin

Father Kevin Goodrich, O.P., is an Anglican Dominican priest who teaches on Christian spirituality in a variety of venues.